As part of a discussion on Facebook regarding the current events in Ukraine, one person commented,
I don’t even understand why these violent protests are occurring. Is it truly just because of the president’s refusal to join the EU? Images like the ones I’ve been seeing usually come from countries with starvation and government death squads. Is there some other motivation behind these riots that is being concealed?
I lived in Ukraine for two years and have been following the news with interest, just as I did the news of the Orange Revolution in 2004. My response to this comment was as follows:
[Please] do a quick review of Ukrainian history from 900 A.D. to present and you’ll see why maintaining independence from Moscow is important to Ukrainian’s. Kyiv Rus was THE political power in Eastern Europe until the Golden Horde destroyed it. Then, two powers rose from the ashes: The Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Since that time, Ukraine has been ruled by one or both of these powers. The Poles turning Ukrainians into surfs, the destruction of Kozak (Cossack) identity by Katherine the Great, the genocide committed by Stalin; Ukraine has been fighting for independence and self-directed government for 600 years. That is why the people fight. To turn away from Europe and toward Moscow is to turn away from freedom and toward tyranny. I lived in Ukraine for two years. Their culture, their history, and their language mean a great deal to them. This is about more than the EU and Moscow, this is about the soul and identity of a nation and a people.
If you have had similar questions about these events in Ukraine; if you have been wondering why the Ukrainian people are so outraged by the actions of their government, I encourage you to take the next few minutes and get the Wikipedia version of Ukraine’s history. This will give you enough of an understanding of the depth of history and culture for which the Ukrainian people are fighting.
Russia is nothing more than a bratty child, ungrateful for the gifts of a beloved parent. Russia even went as far at one point in its history to name Ukraine “Little Russia.”
As I said in my Facebook post. These riots, this fighting, is bigger than the EU and Moscow. The outcome of these events is about the soul and identity of a nation and a people.